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Jeroshenko: state is the worst airBaltic manager one can imagine

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Vadim Jeroshenko

So far, the state has practically not monitored the national company airBaltic at all. This is precisely why such a situation has developed in the first place. The government needs to bring in independent experts and conduct audit, Vadim Jeroshenko, board chairman of the corporate finance company Laika Stars, told in an interview to the news portal BNN.

Speaking of issues that could be tackled differently, the state as a shareholder is the worst manager one can imagine, Jeroshenko says.

In his view, if ministries are in charge of such companies, decisions are bound to be politicized. Rational and effective solution would be to create a separate institution, employing professionals who are focused on business and are industry experts. In this case, the government would manage its assets more efficiently and not have to experience unexpected surprises.

According to Jeroshenko, the key rule in adopting solutions for airBaltic’s difficult situation is maintaining its basis at Riga International Airport.

He believes, in this case, it is does not matter who owns the airline – the state or private structures – airBaltic management is more important. The critical prerequisite for airBaltic is to stipulate that the company’s base will continue to be Riga Airport. Moreover, such a requirement has to be observed for at least 25 years.

«Firstly, the transit flow is calculated from the base, which is essential to the Latvian economy. Moreover, the airline’s location in Riga is convenient for Latvia’s residents using air traffic services. It also helps develop the airport, attract transit passengers, as well as expand the tourism industry,» he indicates, adding that airBaltic’s departure from Latvia should not be permitted due to all these reasons.

Jeroshenko points out that such condition should be observed even if the government decides to establish a new national airline. However, in that case it should also consider additional funding for aircraft acquisition, brand development and other such inevitable expenses.

While commenting on the fact that alongside the airline’s base at Riga Airport, affiliated companies should also be registered in Latvia, ensuring adequate tax flow to the state budget, Jeroshenko says it depends on sound fiscal policies. «If companies – I am not just talking about airlines, but also businesses from various sectors see that it is beneficial to pay taxes in Latvia, they will do so,» Jeroshenko concludes.

The news agency BNN, in reference to Pietiek.com‘s published information, already reported that Jeroshenko is the Transport Minister candidate nominated by the Harmony Center (HC). He is also a deputy at Riga City Council and board member at Riga Free Port, as well as board chairman at the corporate finance company Laika Stars. Pietiek.com claims that he is «close to Ventspils’ group representing Lembergs opponent Oleg Stepanov’s interests».

The HC, however, refrained from commenting to BNN as to whether Jeroshenko is really a candidate for the Transport Minister’s post.

Similarly, it was reported that the government approved at a closed session on Tuesday, September 27, an agreement on airBaltic future management, stipulating state will invest 57.6 million lats in the airline’s share capital.

If airBaltic’s minority shareholders fulfill the conditions, the Transport Minister Uldis Augulis is to sign such an agreement. According to the government representatives, the agreement will be signed until September 29, when the shareholders’ meeting takes place.


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